Africa Open. Thomas Aiken’s African Adventure.

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Thomas Aiken’s African adventure ended with him winning the Africa Open at East London Golf Club.

Thomas and Kate Aiken  (Getty Images)

Thomas with caddie Kate Aiken, and Trophy / Getty

Thomas Aiken and Oliver Fisher finished tied at the top of the Africa Open leaderboard at -20 under par, at the conclusion of the final round. Thomas had final round -4 under par 67 and Oliver finished with a -2 under par 69 to get to -20. A play-off ensued with Thomas triumphing  with a thirty foot birdie putt on the first extra hole at East London Golf Club. It was his first tour win on home soil.

“I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time, I’ve won a couple of times overseas, but there is nothing like winning in front of a home crowd. “The South African fans have been unbelievable throughout my whole career so it’s nice to finally get one for you guys. East London Golf Club, what a fantastic golf club. It shows that a course doesn’t need to be long for it to play interestingly. I always love coming back here, and it’s so great to finally get this trophy under my belt. Thanks so much to my wife, we might have to do it again,”

David Horsey birdied four of his last six holes to shoot a final round of -6 under par 65 and claim a share of third place on -19 under ,alongside John Hahn. Emiliano Grillo was in a four strong group a shot further back at -18 under par after gains at the last five holes repaired some of the damage of a quintuple-bogey nine on the opening hole.

Africa Open. Grillo Gets In Front On Day 3.

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Emiliano Grillo gets in front on day  3 of the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club.

Emiliano Grillo sinks another putt during his third round 62

Emiliano Grillo  / Getty Images

Emiliano shot a bogey free third round of -9 under par 62 to take the lead at the Africa Open on -20 under par, a two-stroke lead going into the final round tomorrow. It was a positive putting performance that gave him the lead, including a 60 footer on the last hole to save par. Emiliano came close in Dubai, and wants to win this time;

“It was a good round of golf. I played well, but it was the putting that helped the most. I made some good ones on the back nine that kept my round going. I didn’t hit it as close as I would have liked for nine under, but I made them from all over. I played good for the whole round and I am quite happy with my game, so hopefully I can repeat it tomorrow.”

“When you start making a couple of pars in a row you get impatient, so the key around here is waiting for the birdies. It’s definitely more difficult than the past two days. The wind picked up and it was a little different direction to what we have seen, but I played good enough to not care about the wind today. Hopefully we will have similar conditions tomorrow. A great putt on the last hole gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year. I thought I had it for a moment in Dubai but Stephen played great on the last few holes so he got the trophy and I got second place, but it felt like a win for me.”

Oliver Fisher is in second place, at -18 under par, he signed for third round -5 under par 66, which included three bogeys, six birdies and an Eagle. He admitted he played some poor shots today;

” I hit a few poor shots, but I’m delighted with the way I finished and pleased with my score for today. I’m two behind and it’s the sort of course where guys can come from a long way back.” 

There are three players tied in third place, Richard Bland, Thomas Aiken and John Hahn, all at -16 under par.

Yesterdays leader John Hahn suffered  two duffed shots on the 12th, which ultimately gave  the 24-year-old Qualifying School graduate his first bogey since the opening day on Thursday. He carded an even par 71, a far cry from yesterday’s 61.We keep saying the time to shoot 61 or 62 is the last round, how often have we seen the low rounds followed by horrible high rounds ?

Someone is going to shoot a -9 or -10 round tomorrow, and win this tournament, so there are lots of possibilities in the field who could still win.

Africa Open. Santos Shoots 62 on Day 1.

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Ricardo Santos shoots 62 in round one of the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club. Ricardo Santos   (Getty Images)

Ricardo Santos / Getty Images

Portugal’s Ricardo  carded a flawless -9 under par 62 to set take the clubhouse lead at East London G.G. in the Africa Open. He won  his first title on home soil in the Madeira Islands, and nine birdies and no bogeys here has put him on course to win again. Of course as I said last week it is much better to shoot 62 in the last round than the first, so we will see if Ricardo can continue with his good form. Not missing a fairway today was the key to his fabulous round, and helped by beautiful weather on the short course that measures just 6,632 yards;

“I played really solidly today and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie, and I took a lot of those chances, I’m very pleased to make a run like I did today. I hit the ball solidly from the tee and my putting was all good. To shoot minus nine you have to play awesome golf, so I’m really pleased with every piece of my game. If the wind blows this is a very tough course, but today if you put the ball in the fairway you had the chance to shoot a low round.”

” I made nine under in Madeira to win the event, but I shot 63 there, because the par was 72. Today was definitely one of my best rounds of golf so far. I put the ball very close, didn’t miss a fairway, and that’s the key on this course.”

 Garth Mulroy, Rhys Davies, Lucas Bjerregaard and Richard Bland are tied in second place at -7 under par after their opening rounds of 64.

Garth carded six birdies, an eagle and one bogey, Rhys had eight birdies in his last 16 holes. Richard produced a flawless round of golf, which contained an eagle and five birdies in a back nine of 30.

Garth enjoyed the good weather conditions, with no wind off the Indian Ocean;

” It’s always nice to start the week this way, usually we don’t get weather like this here, but I’m not complaining. The scores are definitely out there, you’ve just got to make some putts. I am pleased to be up there. I played okay on my first nine, but only turned one under. On the second nine I made a few putts and got it going. I think that on the front side of the course there are a few short par fours and with good shots you can make some easy birdies.”

Rhys was happy to record a nice opening round;

 “I haven’t had the greatest form over the last couple of years, so it’s really nice to have a good round under my belt. It was a lovely start this morning, I enjoyed it, and I’ll try to do the same again tomorrow.”

East London course photo’s

    photoEast London

Louis Oosthuizen wins Africa Open

Major winner Louis Oosthuizen has won the Africa Open by two shots from Tjaart Van Der Walt. Louis’ final total of -27 is a quite amazing score, but six players in the top ten had scores of -20 or more. Did they all play exceptional golf, or was the East London Golf Club course just too easy for todays top players. I assume that as the country’s top golfing honor that the course was set up to provide a true test of golf, and yet the scoring was too easy. There are times when one player can seem to do no wrong and win a tournament quite comfortably, but when everyone has blitzed the course there is something wrong with the set up, or the course. Maybe at 6770 yards the East London course is too short for the talented new generation of professional golfers.

Another thing that I noticed was that Van Der Walt appeared to be playing in a pair of Levi blue jeans, is this possible ?

Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen